Julie Goodwin and Lisa Wilkinson sit down on The Project. Picture: Channel 10.
Julie Goodwin and Lisa Wilkinson sit down on The Project. Picture: Channel 10.

MasterChef winner ‘had nothing left’

Julie Goodwin rose to fame as the bubbly mother-of-three with a warm smile and knack for creating tasty, full-of-love dishes invoking an instant sense of comfort.

But behind the scenes in the years following her MasterChef season one win, Goodwin was in a world of private pain.

At the beginning of this year, the celebrity chef and former breakfast radio star disappeared from the airwaves of Star 104.5's Rabbit and Julie Goodwin, telling fans in February she'd spent five weeks in a mental health facility after experiencing a bout of depression so severe she couldn't eat or sleep.

 

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A special note from Julie: If you’re a regular listener of our show you may have noticed that I have been missing in...

Posted by Rabbit & Sarah on Thursday, 20 February 2020

Penning a devastating letter to fans explaining her absence, the reality star described the pain as feeling like she was "trapped under a wet woollen blanket and every move was a massive effort … Anxiety kept coursing through me like electricity. Eventually all of this became so much that I just had nothing left."

Sitting down with The Sunday Project host Lisa Wilkinson, she said finding herself in such a dark place came as a "shock".

Julie Goodwin sits down with Lisa Wilkinson. Picture: Channel 10.
Julie Goodwin sits down with Lisa Wilkinson. Picture: Channel 10.

"I found myself in hospital having suffered a massive episode of depression and anxiety and a whole lot of stuff I couldn't manage … It was quite a shock to me to land there," she told Wilkinson.

"It wasn't just a feeling, it became physical. My hands shook so hard that I couldn't put a fork full of food to my mouth … I wasn't sleeping," she said of the "frightening" episode.

Describing the night she ended up in hospital, Goodwin said things just fell apart.

Goodwin said her depression and anxiety “became physical” and she could barely eat or sleep. Picture: Channel 10.
Goodwin said her depression and anxiety “became physical” and she could barely eat or sleep. Picture: Channel 10.

Luckily, her husband was there to step in.

"I'm very grateful to my husband Mick for making that decision (to go to hospital) … He just said to me, I'm not equipped to deal with what you're going through right now, and I need some help with this.

"If I hadn't been taken there, I don't know where I'd be now," she added.

After being assessed by the hospital's psychiatrist Julie was told she would need to be treated as an inpatient in a mental health unit.

Three weeks in hospital became six, and by Julie's side the whole time was her loyal husband Michael.

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Loving life! #SouthPacific #grateful

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"What I know from like the very centre of my soul is that he is looking out for me and that his motivation is my wellbeing," she said of her husband of 25 years.

Looking back at her lowest point, Goodwin said she had felt the excitement and joy drain out of her life, and it felt almost impossible to get it back.

"The joy was gone.

"I was stuck in a situation of my own creation and I couldn't get out, I couldn't see a way out. And it wasn't that I didn't want to alive anymore, but I couldn't figure out how to be alive.

"I just had voices that were despairing and dark and wrong, telling me the wrong things."

With the help of Michael and her three sons, she got better, and realised the impact her overwhelming schedule - running a cooking school and managing a gruelling breakfast radio timeslot - was taking its toll.

"Everyone just rallied around and I guess … I slowly, incrementally got better.

"You know it wasn't the end of the world. I'm not that important, I'm a cog in a wheel and we all need a break sometimes."

Touching on the pandemic, and the detrimental impact self isolation can have on mental health, Julie - who has had to close her cooking school amid the uncertainty - said the situation may help teach us how to look out for each other.

"It's been a devastating time for everybody for so many people and so many businesses," she said.

"What I do hope is that having faced an adversity as one planet instead of little fractions of it facing off against each other, that maybe we can emerge from this better as a human race and more considerate and just more able to look out for each other."

Looking ahead, Goodwin said she has accepted taking care of her mental health will always require attention.

"I think what I have to accept is that it will always be a work in progress," she said,

"I am capable of being depressed and being anxious and it's up to me now to keep doing the things I need to do to keep that at bay."

Originally published as MasterChef winner 'had nothing left'


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